Dams, Shorelines, Culverts, and More! 

July 26, 2018 | 

Dams, Shorelines, Culverts, and More!

2018 Vermont Clean Water Week Highlights

The watershed program has been hard at work in the 2018 field season! Six crews (and counting) have implemented a variety of projects across the State, aimed at improving water quality and ecosystem health. Clean water doesn’t just mean we can stay hydrated during these hot months, it means that diverse aquatic ecosystems are able to thrive, which provides benefits to the broader landscape, our economy, and the health of our Vermont communities.so we hope you will help us celebrate the great work getting done this summer.

Here’s a look into what our crews have been up to:

First Session Highlights: June & Early July

  • Over one week, the Spike 5 Crew constructed 3 cascading timber check dams in a heavily eroded gully in Pownal to stabilize the bank. Check dams interrupt high velocity flows and slow the water down to decrease the chance of severe erosion, which causes nutrient and sediment pollution in our lakes and ponds.


  • Our Brattleboro Community Crew spent two weeks at Lake Raponda completing various shoreline restoration projects. Some of their work included building a 50ft long vegetated swale uphill of the beach to collect and filter stormwater runoff, a 230ft encapsulated soil lift along the shoreline, a turbidity curtain, and planting over 300 shrubs and plants.
  • The Williston Community Crew spent two weeks inventorying and assessing culvert outlets and outfalls that suffered from severe erosion in Montpelier, bringing them up to the Municipal Roads General Permit (MRGP) standards. This was completed by lining the outfall of the culvert with stone to prevent sediment eroding in high volume storm events.


  • The Washington County Community Crew followed suit in Barre Town lining culvert after culvert for the first two weeks of their season. They then traveled to Woodbury to install 32 burly water bars along a Class 4 Road/ATV trail. This road was in dire need of some erosion control and this crew saved the day! Making a water bar means digging a drainage ditch to re-direct water off of a road or trail, creating a gradual slope down to the ditch and then a large, reinforced berm on the downhill side of the ditch. Water bars may look like simple structures, but when they are done right, a trail or road will sustain through even the heaviest rain events.
  • Our Spike 4 Crew spent a week in Franklin County stewarding a riparian buffer on the Lamoille River. They planted 180 native riparian trees near the river bank and cleared 24,000 ft of tall undergrowth to ensure higher survival rates of the saplings and existing plantings. Riparian buffers are extremely important for bank stabilization; a tree’s vast root system provide support to the surrounding soil and also takes up nutrients that can harm bodies of water when released in large quantities.

Second Session Highlights: Late July & Early August

  • Both the AmeriCorps 2 and Spike 5 Crews are currently working on a remote backcountry site on the Waterbury Reservoir, creating a live crib wall to mitigate the human caused erosion from climbing the bank up to the campsite. This terraced timber structure will be set into the bank and have plantings of native trees and shrubs inside for stabilization. Spike 5 will continue on to Hartford to inventory culvert outfalls and bring them in to compliance with the State MRGP standards.
  • Next for our Spike 4 Crew? They’ll be spending two weeks in Addison County along Otter Creek and Dead Creek removing invasive water chestnut. Water chestnut was first introduced to Lake Champlain in the 1940s and has spread with fervor. Mitigation efforts have significantly reduced the population in Vermont’s waters but the invasive plant still causes disruption in navigation, recreation, and commercial uses on the water. Our crew will be out on the water in canoes and kayaks pulling for better water quality, and trying not to fall in.

Keep an eye out for our crews, they’re doing more than you know and hopefully we’ll #SeeYouOutThere!

About the author

Rose Nixon is a UVM student intern working with the VYCC in their Conservation program this summer. She is studying Environmental Sciences and enjoys experiential learning, ecosystem interactions, and spending as much time as she can outside.